3 May 2016

The Final day at the Theatre Exchange

The first day of The National Theatre Exchange ended on a very festive note, only to raise the expectations for the following day. Needless to say, the 502 people at the University Institute Hall on the 27th thoroughly enjoyed the time throughout the two presentations, and it all fell on the Mumbaikars to show their mettle to the Kolkata crowd on the following day. It was a very warm couple of days, and before their performance we had a light hearted conversation with the members of team AmyGo. Learning about their superstitions, their first "Hot"(and I mean it literally) experience of Kolkata, their yearning for the Kolkata special Aloo-Biriyani, was all very nice. And although, they were certainly a bit nervous, it was rarely sparking out from the lot, who were going to stage their 29th presentation of "The E.Q".


Smit, Moumita and Karan from the left.

Karan Bhanushali

Dhaval Thakkar

"Akhir yeh E.Q hai kya?" (What is this E.Q?)

Those who have been following the regular updates about the National Theatre Exchange, the background about "The E.Q" is no secret, a journey through the life of Albert Herman Einstein. A regular and average student during his early days, Einstein's life and I.Q has been a subject of wonder for his followers worldwide, and nonetheless the ones who have been regularly researching about this great man, are well aware of the fascinating life of this genius. The E.Q or the Emotional Quotient, an Hindi play written and directed by Amatya Goradia explores the three stages of this man's development. His dyslexic childhood, where he was a subject of bullying for his peers and teachers, his eccentric youth where he shrugged away all societal responsibilities in the quest to success, and in the end, the final stage when he finally achieves all the fame, respect and recognition in his life and retires to a desirable yet troubled state of existence.

Karan Bhanushali as Einstein

Einstein is dead, and his contemporary Thomson Harvey, played by Amatya Goradia, has stolen his brain on the look-out to decipher the secret behind his genius. He is ambitious and adamant at the thought that Einstein's brain contains something very different from his peers. Blink! The scene shifts back to the backdrop of the entire ruckus, the Einstein Quotient and his journey with the endless turmoils, disappointments, relationship disputes, and his own conscience troubles! Three Einsteins, Smit Ganatra, playing the young Albert, dyslexic, and weak in his initial stages, with his jocund outbursts of energy and a different aptitude towards creativity; Omkar Kulkarni, the Einstein in his stages of later development, toiling endlessly to get that one break which would not compel him to join the German army, insensitive and pushing away all his emotional attachments, and finally Karan Bhanushali, the matured, successful genius, in his American days of popularity and that final project which killed him from the inside.  All the actors were very well prepared and presented a fine performance throughout. Smit Ganatra's aberrant and childish performance as the young Einstein deserves a special mention along with Karan Bhanushali! The narrative technique was that of a supreme order, and this is that one point which places this play a place higher than most other performances occurring in this city. Entertaining and impressive, rapid and sensitive, coupled with the fine background scores and lights, there was not a single point in this play which failed to hit the soul of the audience. Amatya Goradia, Take a bow!

Amatya Goradia as Thomson Harvey

The dramatic events have been captured brilliantly through the use of appropriate gimmicks and subtle humour, which makes the complex storyline extremely attractive even for the irregular theatre goers! The very jarring emotional scenes woven very neatly into the story, such as the troubled relationship he shared with his wife Mileba, and the controversial affair with Elsa in the later stages of his life were carried out very smoothly! The emotional connection was well established throughout the entire presentation with its subtle handling of amusement and sensitive moments, and the closing stages of the play stands out in this department. The director's interpretation of the behaviour and eccentricities of this great man, may or may not be original, but that is indeed not the point, what matters is the fine-drawn analysis of one of the most complex individuals in the race of mankind, and the smooth dealing of all his personal affairs put in with the gradual development of the genius. Forget the I.Q, the Einstein Quotient is alive more precisely through the Emotional Quotient, because "Asli Duniya mein Asli logo ki bhawnaye kya hai, ye hum bhi calculate nahi kar sakte!" (Even I would fail to calculate all the emotions of individuals living in a real world)

Mumbaikars, Kudos! 

"The difference between stupidity and genius
is that genius has its limits"

One of the very first of its kind, this event made a considerable impact in the contemporary thespian circuit of Kolkata. Here's hoping and looking forward to many more such events of its kind, which will not only improve the conditions of theatre in this city but also re-establish Kolkata as one of the leading cultural hubs of the country, a position which she has recently lost! 

Write up by :- Anubhav Chakraborty.
Photographs by :- Swagato Basak.

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